MPs fail to agree on how to bridge the gender gap
Posted Thursday, September 20 2012 at 22:30
- Any gender shortfall after the elections will see an increase in House seats by the same margin. Political parties will draw a “stand-by” list of both men and women which will be used to fill gender gaps.
- To satisfy the gender rule, Kenyans must elect at least 117 women or men. If the 117 mark is not met, then the new arrangement captured in the amendment requires that political parties provide names of the disadvantaged gender from the list to comply with the Constitution.
Members of Parliament on Thursday failed to agree on how to meet the minimum gender requirement setting the stage for a constitutional crisis after the General Election.
However, Mr Uhuru Kenyatta and Mr William Ruto, said they would rally their troops to support the amendments to ensure women got the one third quota in Parliament and the Senate.
“Let’s us support this bill as the only way to ensure affirmative action for women and to guard against having an illegitimate Parliament after the elections,” Mr Kenyatta said.
The MPs disagreed on a proposal by the Cabinet to amend the Constitution to allow political parties to nominate members if election results failed to strike the right gender balance.
Those at the Kamukunji said the male lawmakers opposed direct nominations arguing the process had been abused by party leaders and insisted that a mechanism be found to reduce direct nominations and subject women to elections.
Another group, in rejecting the suggestions to create special seats for women in the National Assembly and Senate, argued that women were already as empowered as men.
Insiders also said hard-liners opposed to the affirmative action proposals went to the extreme of suggesting deletion of the gender parity provisions.
ODM chief whip Jakoyo Midiwo rejected Cabinet’s proposals and suggested an amendment to the Constitution to cut down the constituencies and abolish the 47 county seats reserved for women.
Yatta MP Charles Kilonzo said MPs would push for deletion of gender parity provisions in the Law.
Gender minister Naomi Shaban had been optimistic the amendments would sail through.